Miriam Groman, who turned 100 on April 5, with Rachel Freeman, whose grandfather is Groman's partner, in 2018. (COURTESY FREEMAN)
Miriam Groman, who turned 100 on April 5, with Rachel Freeman, whose grandfather is Groman's partner, in 2018. (COURTESY FREEMAN)

Woman Zooms to 100 with virtual birthday party

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Miriam Groman was supposed to have a party. The Los Angeles resident was turning 100 and a big family celebration was planned. She was even planning to wear the dress she wore the time she met Prince Charles, in 1985.

Covid-19 put an end to the party, but not to the celebration. On April 5, families and loved ones gathered via computer to celebrate Groman’s life.

Using video conferencing was new to Groman, but she was game.

“I must say I thought I had learned a lot in 100 years, but I see I have more to learn because this was all so brand new to me,” she told a family member. “It was really a very exciting and delightful new experience. Turns out you can teach old dogs new tricks!”

One of the people present was Rachel Freeman of Foster City. Her grandfather, Josh Kheel, is Groman’s partner of almost 20 years; the two were set up on a blind date after Groman’s husband, Arthur, a high-powered entertainment lawyer, passed away. (It was through his work that Miriam met Prince Charles.) She and Kheel hit it off and soon moved in together.

“One thing that is so beautiful about them is they really do keep each other young,” Freeman said.

For the online party, close to 50 people called in or connected by video from Foster City, San Mateo, Los Angeles, the East Coast, Florida and even France to sing, read poems, share stories and wish Groman well.

“I am blessed to have lived this long and seen this much of a world that is so full of wonderful things,” Groman said. “Right now we’re in the middle of a bad thing, but we’ll get through it. We’ll find a cure. And the wonderful people on this earth will find a way to do it.”

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.